ALONE WITH JAZZ
What our children think is important… and why this matters.
I grew up before television was our primary information center. Before dinner our family huddled around the radio for the news and after dinner we were entertained by a record going round and round on the Victrola. All kinds of music surrounded us with all its imagery. Those were magical moments. Sometimes we accompanied our parents to a concert or an opera but never to a jazz joint. Jazz and popular music were only on the radio and records. It did get into our heads and we learned to move and sway when nobody was watching. I did catch my dad once practicing his moves. It has remained part of the rhythm of my life. Thankfully it has also leaked into my children’s lives.
Life isn’t as simple for kids today.
There is plenty of music all around us but often it is in the background while our brain is focused on a task. Getting the time to get lost in some music just isn’t always available. Luckily in Detroit there are earnest efforts to bring our master artists into the community to share their gifts. Providing an intimate experience with these teachers will assure that many young lives will be richer. I have witnessed the skill of our jazz educators and seen kids abandon their cell phones while being introduced to something new. This year I am planning to spend time documenting the programs and the individuals whose lives will be enriched. I have always been impressed with the ability jazz musicians have to listen to the children. They seem to know how much that matters. Maybe it is that listening to others is the key to jazz.
You never know where inspiration will come from.
One of the advantages of getting a chance to hang out with jazz musicians is to hear them tell stories of how they first heard the music. As a child Charles Boles was introduced to jazz by a pianist in an apartment above his room. Charles would lie on his bed and listen to “Nubs” play to the crowd gathered for his “rent parties”. Nubs played great piano despite missing some fingers. Charles was moved by the music he was alone with. Now when you see him play every Tuesday at the Dirty Dog you can watch him go back to that state – lost in the music.
Another great story this week, Shahida Nurullah
Put a shot of youth in your day and come out to discover what Shahida Nurullah is up to. I had made a vow not to use the overused word resilient this year. Whatever, resilient is the first word that comes to mind that best describes Shahida. Her’s has been a life of bouncing back and then being asked to bounce back. The bumps in her life included a serious accident that left her challenged to speak. Another word I wasn’t going to use was grit. Well, her beautiful voice will be on display Wednesday through Saturday. This is a testimony to the recuperative power of music along with grit. Don’t miss Shahida. John Osler
Shahiada was featured in this promotion for the DMC Rehabitilation Center